Left: This hand-built stone centenarian is a proud survivor of time. Built in 1903, this stone shed is topped by three relics of another age. While most displays of farm collectibles are housed in sheds and buildings, Marv Grabau’s collection of nearly three dozen cupolas and ventilators are on proud display atop his house, barn and outbuildings. He’d like to add more cupolas to his collection, but faces a challenge: “I’d have to build another barn just to display them,” he says. “I’m basically running out of room, but I think I could squeeze in another five or six.”
Below: Marv Grabau’s brilliant red barn is a standout in its own right. But capped by a wooden cupola, accented by a ventilator complete with lightning rod (visible just below the cupola) and clearly identified with the Grabau name scripted in red shingles, this barn is truly one of a kind. Marv spent more than 50 hours constructing the wooden cupola. The ventilator was salvaged from the nearby Forestville Township Schoolhouse; sharp eyes will spot the lightning rod’s white glass ball.
Above: The outbuildings at Marv Grabau’s farm are nothing if not well ventilated. Several pieces from his collection top these three buildings.
Above: Years ago, this building was the Forestville Township School, where both Marv Grabau and his father were once students. Now used as the Forestville Town Hall, the building has undergone extensive restoration, thanks in part to Marv’s efforts. He also built the wooden cupola atop the building, replacing the original structure built there to house the school bell, long since stolen.Above right: Marv Grabau with one of his cupolas, a 106-inch model graced by a weather vane complete with a handsome horse ornament. This piece fell from a friend’s barn and then, adding insult to injury, suffered attack by a lawnmower. Marv has repaired the piece, which is now ready for installation.Right: Marv recently acquired this outhouse, which dates to 1913, and moved it to his place to serve as a reminder of days long past. The humble structure is loaded with options: a decades-old ventilator and a lightning rod, complete with white glass balls.Below: A classic line-up. From left: A 64-inch cupola with blue glass ball on the lightning rod; a 48-inch cupola with white ball on the lightning rod; and a 32-inch cupola made by the Clay company. The latter model is of a style originally used on brooder houses.
Above: Although most cupolas Marv finds show the ravages of time and vandals, those he obtained from his great-uncle are unscathed … other than the markings made years ago by Marv’s cousins when they were children.